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Advantages of Having PMP Certification

Project Management Professionals Certification is the highest standard of project management certification in the world. So, if you are a project manager it makes sense for you to get PMP certified. In the last 20 years, over 600,000 project managers across the world have become PMP certified. Project Management Professional certification is the most respected project management certification in the world.
The question that comes to mind is: Why should I go for the PMP certification? The answer to the question is looking at the benefits which comes with the PMP certification:

  • You become more attractive to employers– A PMP certified project manager is more attractive to prospective employers as you demonstrate an ongoing commitment to learning and understanding.
  • Higher Salary – PMP certified professionals command higher salary as you are considered more knowledgeable and since worth more value to the organisation. On an average PMP certified project managers draw at least 20% higher salary than other non PMP certified managers.
  • Increase Revenue for organisation– PMP certification will result in increased revenue for your organisation. Clients would actually have more confidence in your abilities and would be ready to pay more for the products or services offered.
  • Competitive Advantage – PMP certification puts you at a competitive advantage over others. PMP certification mentioned in your CV will allow you to shine and command attention.
  • Improves your communication skills– PMP certification means that you speak the same language as any other PMP certified project manager in the world. This gives you a upper hand when it comes to communication skill in the project management field.
  • Global Networking Opportunities – PMP certification opens up Global Networking opportunities with fellow Project manager professionals.
  • Helps you in becoming Leader– PMP certification makes you a better leader. You can use your credentials to educate your peers. PMP certification will help you act as a mentor or coach which will in turn help you gain leadership experience.

iACT Global is a reputed online Training and Certification organisation. iACT Global will help you excel in the project management field. They offer certification in PMP. This certification will help you move ahead in your career. PMP certification will put you in demand as an established project management professional. There could not be a better time to get PMP certified and there could not be a better place than iACT Global to do so.

How to clear the ITIL Foundation exam

IACT GlobalIn case you are thinking of availing the ITIL foundation certificate and that too for the first time, you must go through this blog. We will discuss some tips in this blog which will help you in nailing ITIL foundation exam and attaining the most sought after ITIL foundation certificate.

Practice a lot

  • Practice is the most important weapon that will help you clear the ITIL Foundation exam. You need to attempt all the sample questions without looking at the answers. This will help you evaluate yourself and get the knowledge about where you stand. Try to time your practice session; this will help you in time management during the actual exam. As the time duration of the ITIL Foundation exam is sixty minutes, you need to practice accordingly. Don’t fail due to bad time management. At IACT Global, we give you lots of practice and make you an expert of all sample questions. IACT Global equips you with adequate knowledge and proper time management skills to nail the ITIL foundation exam.
  • Be familiar with ITIL terminology

    ITIL course is loaded with lots of terms and abbreviations. If you are attempting the ITIL Foundation exam for the first time, you will find these a bit difficult. But by enrolling at IACT Global, you can always be assured to learn these terms and the relationships between them quite easily.

  • Read each question carefully

While giving the actual ITIL Foundation exam, be sure to read all the questions carefully and understand them while taking your own time. You may have to read them twice or thrice to really understand. If a question is in negative, be sure not to miss out the “not”, otherwise you will answer it in a completely wrong way in a hurry. There are also some tricky questions which contain words like “always” or “never”. Try to answer them correctly. Also, don’t be overconfident about short questions as they require your time and understanding as well.

  • Use the knowledge gained form ITIL training

    Last but not the least, don’t stress out. Use whatever knowledge you have gained from ITIL training. Don’t attempt the questions based on your earlier work experience and knowledge. While giving the ITIL Foundation exam, remember that it is an assessment of your understanding of ITIL principles, functions, concepts and processes.
    But you need not worry of all these things because we at IACT Global make you well trained in all aspects of ITIL Foundation exam and equip you with all the weapons necessary to acquire the ITIL foundation certificate.

Asia, Africa and much of developing world – the unique challenges that they pose for project management

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A large number of big projects are coming up in developing and least developed countries. These big projects are usually infrastructure projects. Developing countries of Asia and least developed ones of Africa face a lot on infrastructural bottlenecks.  As these countries post higher economic growth, they need more infrastructure – such as roads, bridges and power plants – to support this growth.

Many private companies are working on these large infrastructure projects. Some of these projects are solely with them while others are in partnership with respective governments (public-private partnership model).

Managing a large infrastructural project in a developing country has many unique challenges.  There is often the problem of delay in decision making because of too much bureaucracy. The red-tape in developing countries is much more than in developed ones. Private companies that are used to working in developed ones often find it difficult to navigate through this sea of red-tape when they take projects in developing countries.

Another problem is that of political and bureaucratic corruption. Corruption in many developing nations of Asia and Africa is very high. This corruption adds on to the final cost of the project and often ends up spoiling the initial cost estimates of project managers.

There is also shortage of skilled human resources. So many companies doing large-scale projects in developing countries also have to invest in training and education of the human resources that they employ.

Delay in acquisition of land for large scale projects has been a big problem in India in recent years. Political protest by vested interests and litigations by non-government organizations (NGOs) against these projects have cost private companies doing the projects much.

In spite of these unique challenges of project management in developing and least developed countries, it is wise for many large companies to take up infrastructure projects in these countries. These countries are the markets of present and future. Much of economic growth that the world is seeing today is happening here in these nations. So any company that skips these countries because of the challenges and obstacles that they present, will lose out in the near future. Successful project management requires understanding of the unique challenges that these countries present and how to deal with these challenges in a constructive manner.

Do we really plan well?

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Planning makes or breaks your project. If you still manage to make it without a good plan, you have certainly created a stress in the system through long working hours and that doesn’t make you a good project manager. You will certainly not be promised the same level of commitment next time by your team! Most of us create plans in 2 hours – Really? That’s not a plan, that’s a ‘zombie certificate’ for people who are involved in execution.

Imagine the stress during execution if a good plan doesn’t exist. We as project managers quite often miss out contingencies, scope change impact, cost and schedule estimation thru resource availability etc. How many times do we check the holiday list of project stakeholders and project teams while planning? How many of us create a proactive risk mitigation plan? Or apply learning’s from previous projects? We always work with tight timelines and forget that we as project managers have the onus of good planning and setting up (or at least facilitating) better client management processes. 70% of our time goes into issue resolution. Only if we planned better we wouldn’t be spending more than 10% of our time in fire fighting. There are various tools that can be used for planning; I favour MS Project as it’s a great monitoring tool once the plan is firmed up. There are more simpler tools as well that can be of great help.

I am not here to promote PMP but there’s a reason it mandates prior project management experience. PMP doesn’t teach everything new, we know a lot of it. However it certainly fills the gaps (huge gaps I would say) making us better project managers and asset for our organization. Remember, being PMP certified isn’t just enough. It’s the learning’s that you apply at work that enhances your profile and makes you grow as a leader. And good leaders PLAN well!!! :)

Scared of managing change? Don’t be. Follow Virginia Stair

$_35Implementation of change is one of the biggest challenges that companies regularly face. The need for change can arise because of a change in the external environment, or a change in strategy, or the need for improving organizational performance.Virginia Stair is an American writer. Her change management model is quite helpful in understanding the reasons behind failure of change management exercises in achieving their goals. The model says that change is introduced to break a late status-quo. By late-status quo Stair means status-quo that has been there for long. She calls change as the foreign element that has been introduced to break the status quo.

Once the foreign element or change has been introduced, there would be resistance to change from employees. After the initial resistance to change, employees start accepting change. But due to change their performance level starts going down. Many times companies simply revert to the previous status-quo just because of this drop in employee performance due to change. In her model Stair calls the stage in which employee performance drops, or is bumpy because of the change as the Chaos stage. Stair advises that the chaos stage is an integral part of any change management process and managers should not back down from this stage. They should stick through it.

Stair in her model says that once the Chaos stage is passed the employees start becoming used to change and are able to appreciate the need for it and its benefits. This stage is called Integration in Stair’s model. In this stage performance of employees once again starts improving rapidly.After Integration, the next stage in Stair’s model is New Status Quo. In this stage the change or foreign element of the first stage becomes the status quo. Employees are now firmly established and comfortable in this stage.

Managers can be more successful in implementing change if they keep in mind the Stair’s model while implementing change. Also one thing needs to be added is that change is more successful when it is evolutionary rather than revolutionary. Evolutionary change is gradual step-by-step change that is one step at a time. Revolutionary change on the other hand is big bang change introduced in one go. Successful companies are more about evolution than revolution.

Mega Projects: Mega Challenges Indeed!

 

Project-management-image-finalMegaprojects mean very large projects like building of airports, Metro train network etc. It is often very difficult to assess whether a megaproject is successful or not if one goes by the yardstick of only completion within time and budget. This is because most of the megaprojects are completed well beyond their schedules and well above the budgeted costs. Megaprojects have a large number of stakeholders. New stakeholders are added as the project proceeds. The expectations of stakeholders may change during the course of the project. This results in not only changes in the scope of the project but also changes in contracts with suppliers. This in turn affects the entire cost structure of the project.

 

Megaprojects are also more vulnerable to changes in the external environment. Change in the government, change in the state of the economy etc affect the progress of a megaproject. Political intervention is often a big issue in megaprojects. A number of Megaprojects in India have gotten delayed because of political opposition to land acquisition for these projects. To sum it up in nutshell, there are too many conflicts of interest in megaprojects.
Leaders and managers of megaprojects, therefore, should declare a flexible timeframe with regard to the opening and completion a megaproject. The media monitors megaprojects and if there is delay in opening or completion, a negative perception about the project is created.

 

While budgeting for megaprojects, considerable amount of budgetary slack should be built in. This ensures that the project is able to meet unforeseen, contingency expenditures. The probability of facing allegations of cost overruns is reduced when considerable budgetary slack is factored in. It is also wise to keep the core group of stakeholders, who influence the course of the project, to as limited as possible. This reduces conflicts of interest. A hierarchal organizational structure is needed in such projects so that decision making can be quick and timely.

 

It is also advisable that managers of megaproject maintain interaction with the media. If the media has any query about the project it should be adequately addressed by the project manager. This ensures that misreporting about the project doesn’t take place. Managers and leaders of megaprojects need to have a very holistic, 360 degree view. And they need a broadness of mind and approach that can only be matched by the scale of the project that they are managing.

Agile & Need for Culture Change

Time For Change A large number of software and information technology (IT) companies use the Agile project management framework in their projects. However for effective implementation of Agile framework in the organization a cultural change is required. Companies tend to start applying Agile without changing their culture.

 

One aspect of the cultural change required for Agile is to continuously track the Work-in-progress (WIP). WIP here refers to those modules or activities of the project that have still not been completed. By tracking WIP continuously companies are able to complete these activities in lesser time. Backlog of work is minimized because of this and projects are delivered in time. Due to the iterative nature of Agile methodology project managers sometimes think that there is no need to keep a continuous watch on WIP.

 

Agile requires managers to stop asking team members to do multi-tasking. Multi-tasking results in confusion in the team with regard to the specific responsibilities of team members. It results in wastage of time and causes delays in delivery of projects. Multi-tasking can also have an adverse impact on the quality of deliverables of the project. It causes ineffective collaboration between team members. Human resource is inefficiently utilized because of the tendency to multi-task. Team members lose their focus when they work on a number of project tasks simultaneously. Organizations that have a culture of multi-tasking are therefore less effective in applying Agile.

 

Agile requires team work; it requires a focus on minimizing WIP backlogs. Adaptive planning that focuses on early delivery and continuous improvement is one of the key elements of Agile methodology. In order to achieve adaptive planning the culture of the organization should be flexible and fluid, with a commitment to quality.The reliance on cross-functional teams means that communication in the organization should be free-flowing and continuous. Without effective communication, collaboration between cross-functional teams, working together on a project, cannot be effective.

 

The organizational culture should be responsive to change. Agile is being so widely used in software development because it strives to respond to changes in a quick way. These changes, in case of software projects, usually come in the form of changes in client requirements.There should be a fit between the objectives of Agile framework and the culture of the organization. If this fit is missing then the objective of the Agile project management framework cannot be achieved.

4 Most Popular Methods of Project Management

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In order to increase their success rate in project management, many organizations are using a very systematic approach to project management. The emergence of the Information Technology (IT) industry has led to some new developments in project management. The IT industry is highly project-oriented.

 

 

Good project managers are always in great demand in this industry.
IT companies train their project managers in some common, systematic approaches to project management like PMBOK, PRINCE 2, Critical Chain, Agile et al.

 

The PMBOK is the acronym for Project Management Body of Knowledge. It is issued by the Project Management Institute (PMI) and contains the project management practices recommended by PMI. The PMBOK contains a process-based approach to project management. This approach is widely used across different industries and sectors. It usually divides a project into five stages: initiation, planning, execution, monitoring & control and closing.

 

The PRINCE2 approach is acronym for Projects in Controlled Environment. This approach is about much involvement of the senior management in the management of the project. Things are not left only to the project manager and the participation of senior management is called for. Like PMBOK, it too is a process-oriented approach. It is widely used in projects that are large and complicated in nature.

 

The critical chain project management approach (CCPM) focuses heavily on the resources required for the project. The underlying belief of this approach is that if the resources required for the project are available, adequately and timely, the project can be completed successfully. The approach focuses on identifying resource constraints and removing them.

 

Agile approach to project management is very popular in technology industries like IT. The focus is on iteration (repetition until the thing is done right) and incremental developments and improvements. This approach requires capable team members who are experts in their respective areas. These team members interact and collaborate to work on a software development project or other such project. The Agile approach also relies on continuous interaction and collaboration with customers and suppliers. The iteration leads to creation of delivery cycles. The project is delivered in stages in a number of delivery cycles.

 

The approaches mentioned above are some of the common approaches to project management that are being widely used these days. A good project manager should be aware of the developments that are taking place in the area of project management. He or she should be aware of the popular approaches to project management. Project management is a dynamic field that keeps evolving incrementally.

Project Planning Step by Step

software-pm Planning is one of the most important stages in management of a project. Many times this stage is neglected and work is started without proper and adequate planning.

 
The first step in the planning process is to identify the goals of the project. Communication with stakeholders of the project is a useful exercise that helps in identifying the goals of the project.

 

Stakeholders of a project include the client, the company delivering the project, the team members doing the project and anybody else who is directly and indirectly affected by the project. Interaction with stakeholders helps the project manager understand what the stakeholders want from the project. The ultimate test of the success of a project is whether or not it is able to satisfy the stakeholders.

 
The second step in project planning is identification of project deliverables that will be required for achieving the project goals. The date and format of delivery should be clearly explained along with each deliverable.

 
The third step in project planning is scheduling. Scheduling means estimating the time and resource required for each task that will be required for completing the project successfully. A project is completed successfully when all the deliverables have been achieved within time and budget.
The fourth step in planning is to create plans regarding human resource requirements, communications and risk management. The human resource plan lays out the human resource requirement of the project; who will be the human resources that will be involved in the project and what will be their specific roles.

 

 

Communication is critical for effective collaboration between project team members and other stakeholders. The Communication Plan sets out briefly the communication channels within the project.

 

The Risk Management Plan is very important. In this plan the various risks to the project are identified and listed. An example of one such risk is unexpected shortage of a resource that is required for successful implementation midway through the project.Once the risks have been identified the risk response to each type of risk is devised. Backup plans are created and the risk management approach that will be taken for each type of risk is explained.
A detailed project plan acts as a blueprint during the implementation stage. Without proper planning a project is unlikely to be successful. However planning should not be too rigid. It should be flexible to change if such a need arises during the course of project implementation.

 

 

How to become an effective Project Manager?

microsoft-project Effective project management is one of the critical factors of success in a project. Successful project managers show certain traits and qualities that distinguish them from others. They have the openness of mind to look at issues from a variety of different perspectives.

 

This ability enables them to understand the expectations of the different stakeholders of a project.

Effective project managers continuously communicate with the client. This helps them in understanding the expectations of the client from the project. Communication plays an important role in the success of a project. Continuous communication enables project managers to make changes to implementation according to the evolving requirements of the client.

 

 

Empirical evidence shows that successful project managers are sensitive to the needs of the team members. They treat team members well and are therefore able to motivate them to give their best to the project.

 

 

Project managers need to continuously keep in mind the key deliverables that the project has promised during the course of the project. In the details of implementation, successful project managers do not lose sight of the larger picture; of what the project intends to achieve ultimately on completion.

 

 

Effective project management requires effective collaboration between team members. Where cross-functional teams are involved, collaboration becomes even more important. Good project managers therefore place a lot of value on cultivating positive relationships, which facilitate collaboration between the members of the project team.

 

 

Every project is a learning opportunity for effective project managers. They learn during the entire course of the project. This continuous learning makes them capable of serving the customers and other stakeholders of the project in a better way. Each passing project becomes an opportunity of personal and professional evolution for them.

 

 

A project requires coordination of activities across the team. Effective project managers pay a lot of attention to coordination. They are clear with regard to delegation of responsibilities and explanation of budgetary & time schedules.

 

 

Effective project managers are, almost always, good listeners. This ability helps them to understand the expectations of the stakeholders of the project. It helps them to communicate more effectively with team members and subordinates.

 
And most importantly, effect project managers always factor in the invisible, the uncertain. They are ready with contingency responses in case of materialization of uncertainties. The cognizance of the uncertainty aspect equips project managers to respond more effectively to crisis situations. It lends them flexibility in approach that is required for dealing in an uncertain environment.